09:58 | 31/10/2018 Cooperation
(VEN) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, paid an official visit to Austria, Belgium and Denmark from October 14-21. The prime minister and the Vietnamese delegation attended the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit themed “Asia and Europe: Global Partners for Global Challenges” that took place on October 18-19 in Belgium’s capital - Brussels.
Playing an important role in the world’s development and innovation, and with 53 member economies representing 60 percent of the global population, 55 percent of the global trade, 65 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 75 percent of the global tourism, ASEM is a pioneer in promoting international cooperation and connectivity.
The 12th ASEM summit was an opportunity for leaders of the two continents to discuss global and regional issues, including economic and financial issues, and set out specific orientations and measures to create a new impetus for the Asia-Europe partnership.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was one of two senior ASEM leaders invited to meet with Asian-European businesses within the framework of the 16th Asia-Europe Business Forum. The prime minister gave a speech at the first plenary session themed “Building the Future together: Promoting Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Connectivity”.
The prime minister proposed two new initiatives on promoting inclusive socioeconomic development in Asia and Europe and the ASEM seminar on boosting digital economy in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, scheduled to take place in Vietnam in 2019.
Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son noted that the 12th ASEM summit took place against a backdrop of unprecedented opportunities and challenges. The multilateral system, especially multilateral trade, was confronting many challenges, while the trend of multi-level cooperation and connectivity and the trend of multilateral mechanism reform are being promoted, he said. Those profound changes in the digital age and deepening globalization require the global community, including Asia and Europe, to join hands in strengthening and maintaining multilateral cooperation and better confronting new challenges, Son said.
Vietnam joined the ASEM Forum as a founding member in 1996, reflecting the country’s opening to multilateral and international economic forums and adoption of integration-oriented foreign policies. Over the past two decades, Vietnam has contributed significantly to ASEM’s development. Vietnam’s most prominent efforts include the successful organization of the 5th ASEM summit in 2004, an economic ministerial meeting in 2001, an information technology (IT) ministerial meeting in 2006, a foreign affairs ministerial meeting and an education ministerial meeting in 2009, and a labor ministerial meeting in 2012.
Vietnam has been involved in various ASEM cooperation. Specifically, Vietnam proposed 24 initiatives and cosponsored 27 initiatives, making the country one of the most active members of the forum with initiatives beneficial to localities, businesses and residents, such as sustainable development, food security, sustainable agriculture, water resources management, confronting natural disasters and climate change, education and training, enterprise development, and youth exchanges.
Notably, in 2011, Vietnam and Mekong and Danube riparian countries initiated the first ASEM water resources management cooperation mechanism, bringing the Greater Mekong Subregion cooperation to an inter-regional level, with typical Eurasian cooperation between European and Asian localities such as between Vietnam’s Ben Tre Province and Romania’s Tulcea, and Vietnam’s Can Tho City and Bulgaria’s Rousse. The implementation of ASEM initiatives and cooperation activities not only enhances the capacity to address many issues associated with the interests and concerns of the people, but also contributes to promoting the history, national cultures and potential development of the country to Eurasian friends and partners.
Some 22 of Vietnam’s 28 strategic and comprehensive partners are ASEM members, accounting for 70 percent of foreign direct investment and foreign trade and 80 percent of foreign visitors to Vietnam. Some 14 of the16 free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed or is negotiating are related to ASEM partners (47 of the 60 partners are ASEM partners). These numbers reflect the contribution to and role of ASEM members in Vietnam’s economy, especially in maintaining high economic growth, applying advanced technology and managerial expertise and improving the quality of life.